Map of Eritrea
UNICEF photo: A woman pours water from a jug over a boy’s hands as he washes them. © UNICEF/UNI178405/Pirozzi A woman pours water from a pitcher onto her son’s soapy hands after he has used their family’s latrine in the Fana Administrative Area.


In 2016, UNICEF and partners plan for:

children under 5 years and lactating women benefitted from blanket supplementary feeding


children affected by acute watery diarrhoea accessed life-saving curative interventions


out-of-school children from nomadic communities provided with access to basic education

2016 Requirements: US$16,000,000

x Donate Now
Please confirm your country and we will take you to the right donation page:


Total affected population: 1.5 million
Total affected children (under 18): 725,000

Total people to be reached in 2016: 545,000
Total children to be reached in 2016: 445,000

Eritrea is characterized by arid and semi-arid conditions. In 2015, the country experienced an even shorter than usual rainfall season,1 as well as the effects of El Niño and pre-existing stressors related to household food and livelihood security. Together, these factors have exacerbated women and children’s vulnerability to food insecurity, leading to high levels of malnutrition among children under 5 years and pregnant or lactating women, especially in the lowlands. Trend analysis from the Nutrition Sentinel Site Surveillance system2, 3 indicates an increase in malnutrition rates over the last three years in four out of the country’s six regions (Anseba, Gash-Barka, Maekel and Southern Red Sea). The country also remains highly contaminated by landmines, with only 25 per cent of minefields cleared to date. More than 650,000 people currently live in areas impacted by landmines and explosive remnants of war, which significantly impact both their safety and livelihoods. Seventy per cent of reported casualties from landmines and explosive remnants of war are children, primarily boys.

Humanitarian strategy

2016 Programme Targets


  • 15,000 children under 5 years suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) admitted into therapeutic feeding programmes
  • 35,000 children under 5 years with moderate acute malnutrition benefitted from targeted supplementary feeding
  • 180,000 children under 5 years and lactating women benefitted from blanket supplementary feeding
  • 365,000 children aged 6 to 59 months provided with vitamin A (micronutrient) supplementation


  • 113,000 children immunized for measles
  • 32,000 children affected by acute watery diarrhoea accessed life-saving curative interventions


  • 60,000 people in humanitarian situations accessing 15 litres of water per person per day for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene
  • 60,000 people in humanitarian situations reached with appropriate hygiene messages

Child protection

  • 50,000 children and young people in and out of school provided with integrated mine risk education programmes on injury prevention in high-risk communities


  • 30,000 out-of-school children from nomadic communities provided with access to basic education

UNICEF continues to mainstream humanitarian response within its regular development programmes in order to focus on the most vulnerable populations and geographic areas. A convergence approach has been adopted to ensure that vulnerable communities are reached with integrated life-saving interventions. UNICEF will continue to support the Government to implement nationwide blanket supplementary feeding (on behalf of the World Food Programme), to prevent further deterioration of the nutritional status of children under 5 years and pregnant or lactating women. In addition, UNICEF will continue to raise awareness on explosive remnants of war in the most-affected areas of the country to ensure children’s safety. The child protection programme will disseminate messages and work with communities to prevent child marriage and female genital mutilation and cutting. The UNICEF water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and nutrition responses will focus on drought-prone rural communities that have a high prevalence of food insecurity and malnutrition. The WASH programme will work to build local capacities in drought-affected communities to ensure the provision of clean water and access to proper sanitation and hygiene facilities and supplies. UNICEF will work to strengthen health service delivery systems and prioritize routine immunization coverage, as well as special polio eradication campaigns in 2016. UNICEF will focus on enrolling 30,000 out-of-school, nomadic children from drought-prone areas in school. Finally, UNICEF will continue to utilize Communication for Development (C4D) as a cross-cutting approach to achieving programme results in all sectors.

Results from 2015

As of 31 October 2015, UNICEF had received 16 per cent (US$2.2 million) of the US$13.5 million 2015 appeal, in addition to US$133,791 carried forward from 2014. In addition to reprogramming some of these resources, UNICEF prioritized the most vulnerable regions and promoted programmatic convergence in affected areas to optimize resources from other sectors. More than 9,000 severely malnourished and 31,000 moderately malnourished children received treatment in therapeutic and supplementary feeding sites. Some 1,057 health workers and 2,387 community volunteers received training on the integrated management of acute malnutrition and infant and young child feeding. In addition, 377,000 children aged 6 to 59 months received vitamin A supplementation. Some 30,000 pregnant or lactating women and children under 5 years living in hard-to-reach areas benefited from blanket supplementary feeding. UNICEF also supported the immunization of 88,000 children against measles and 28,000 children affected by acute watery diarrhoea gained access to life-saving curative interventions. UNICEF reached more than 150,000 people with integrated risk reduction activities and mine risk education in mine-affected communities. Some 5,000 children received disaster risk reduction training. Water treatment chemicals to provide safe water for 30,000 people were distributed. 8,700 people in five communities were mobilized, trained and benefited from maintenance of solar powered water supply schemes, and 10,000 people were trained on appropriate hygienic practices in two drought-affected regions. Key preventative messages on WASH, protection, education, health and nutrition reached over for 1.5 million people in rural and high-risk areas.

Funding requirements

UNICEF is requesting US$16 million to meet the humanitarian needs of children in Eritrea in 2016. Without additional funding, UNICEF will be unable to support the national response to the ongoing nutrition and food insecurity crisis, as well as the health, child protection, WASH and education needs of the most vulnerable communities and children.

1 United Nations Country Team (UNCT), ‘Eritrea UNCT Needs Analysis’, 2015.
2 United Nations Children’s Fund, ‘National Sentinel Site Surveillance’, 2014.
3 Eritrea Ministry of Health, Health Management Information System, 2014.